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July 10, 2013

City wants ambulance to hold 700-pound patients

The Associated Press

ELGIN, Ill. — The Elgin City Council plans to consider upgrading an ambulance so it can transport patients who weigh up to 700 pounds.

Fire Chief John Fahy tells The Courier-News that patients weighing 500 pounds or more are becoming more common. The city council in this Chicago surburb will discuss the issue on Wednesday. It will cost about $32,000 to update an existing ambulance to handle heavier patients. The ambulance would have extra-wide interiors, modified stretchers and specialized lifting gear.

Elgin city officials say they expect fewer work-related injuries for the fire department if the council approves the purchase.

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Councilman Richard Dunne retired last year after 25 years with the Elgin Fire Department. He says an ambulance was called at least once a week to transport a patient weighing about 500 pounds.